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Total Newb, Rushing Down Another Rabbit Hole!

Ulma Doctor

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i had a chance to see a 3d printer, a little too close.
it captured my imagination, but thrust the spear of doubt upon my thoughts.
how can i 3d print something???
i have experience with motor controls and plc industrial thingy's- but i have no experience in g-code or co-ordinate multi-axis control.
that is where the doubt came in, how can i print something if i don't know the first thing about it???
i binge watched youtube on the ender 3, the brand i was going to run with.
i din't buy the pro , as recommended.
not for cost reasons alone, from what i understand you end up customizing just about everything anyway-
i'll spend the money on the better gear as i go :grin:
here is how it came

IMG_3667.jpg


here is a picture of the first print i ever made!
41 minutes!

IMG_3673.jpg
IMG_3674.jpg


i plugged the thumb drive into my tower computer.
the creality 1.2.3 was loaded onto my computer
i loaded the stock rendering from the object file
and scaled it through the slicer
i saved the gcode to the sd card and went through the first warm up sequence and leveled the bed.
after the extruder came to temperature and the bed came to temperature,
i loaded the sliced gcode file with a twist and push of a knob.
the printer and software is incredibly easy to use and i feel like i missed out on a lot of stuff earlier,
due to my own ignorance .

i have a ton to learn, but i'm sure i'll get a whole bunch of use from this amazing tool!

thanks for reading!
 
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darkzero

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Nice. I want one! I have always been scared to get one cause when they first starting getting popular models/brands were getter better so quick & cheaper. I didn't want to end up with something halfway obselete. By now I assume that has tapered off a lot. I just looked up the Ender, had no idea they cost was that low now. Maybe it's time I get one. Is the Ender a pretty popular & reputable printer?
 

Ulma Doctor

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Nice. I want one! I have always been scared to get one cause when they first starting getting popular models/brands were getter better so quick & cheaper. I didn't want to end up with something halfway obselete. By now I assume that has tapered off a lot. I just looked up the Ender, had no idea they cost was that low now. Maybe it's time I get one. Is the Ender a pretty popular & reputable printer?
I know next to nothing about 3d printers in general.
They appear to be popular and there are a lot of the ender 3 parts and upgrades
The cura software slicer comes with the kit too!
I would recommend it to anyone curious and would not delay like I did!
 
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Janderso

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Oh Mike, say it aint so!
You drank from the Kool-Aid, you stumbled into the dark side.
Congratulations!
I can see the value of owning one, I just don't know how to make anything.
We talked about reproducing a broken or missing part on a machine that is obsolete.
There are thousands of opportunities but how????
This old dog don't like Kool-Aid.
 

C-Bag

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I know next to nothing about 3d printers in general.
They appear to be popular and there are a lot of the ender 3 parts and upgrades
The cura software slicer comes with the kit too!
I would recommend it to anyone curious and would not delay like I did!
I've been watching them for years now as I'm curious about everything. But I wasn't sure I had an application to what Id do with one. So I appreciate you posting your adventures with this. IMHO you still might be early to this as things have been ironed out and more user friendly than the past. As you so aptly point out Doc it is a rabbit hole because it isn't just the machine, but it's also the software that piles up the "daunt" for a guy who doesn't use CAD or CNC.

I had to laugh at myself when I saw the pic of your first print of the owl and was shocked with the next one with your thumb. My brain said "that's the worlds largest thumb!" as I was sure that owl was at least 3-4" tall.
 

brino

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here is a picture of the first print i ever made!
Excellent Mike. Welcome to the new world of "additive machining".
You have already shown us your mastery of metal and wood.
What's next after you conquer plastic? Stone carving?

I can see the value of owning one, I just don't know how to make anything.
We talked about reproducing a broken or missing part on a machine that is obsolete.
Jeff, that may not be as tall a hurdle as you think.....
Before I had a clue how to draw much in Fusion-360, I produced a threading dial for a SouthBend lathe:
https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/collaboration-on-a-3d-printed-threading-dial-for-a-southbend-9c.67878/
The model was already drawn and posted for free on Thingiverse! (link in that thread)

I'm still not very good a CAD (especially with Autodesk recently changing the Fusion-360 interface to a ribbon style; but's that's a rant for another day!).

-brino
 

stioc

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Very timely thread as I've been of the same mindset as several others in this thread i.e. I'll get one once the technology matures a bit. I've been eyeing the Ender or Ender Pro myself. I like the CR10S for the extra size but it looks like it's half the speed of the Ender but again I know nothing about 3D printers...yet.
 

Ulma Doctor

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Excellent Mike. Welcome to the new world of "additive machining".
You have already shown us your mastery of metal and wood.
What's next after you conquer plastic? Stone carving?

Jeff, that may not be as tall a hurdle as you think.....
Before I had a clue how to draw much in Fusion-360, I produced a threading dial for a SouthBend lathe:
https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/collaboration-on-a-3d-printed-threading-dial-for-a-southbend-9c.67878/
The model was already drawn and posted for free on Thingiverse! (link in that thread)
I'm still not very good a CAD (especially with Autodesk recently changing the Fusion-360 interface to a ribbon style; but's that's a rant for another day!).
-brino
Thanks Brino!!
you are way too kind in using the word master in description , but thank you! :grin big:
i fear i'm going to the dark side, where gcode and cnc control may take favor :cautious:

fear not, i will unplug or spill a pepsi upon my AI overlord should a revolution arise!
 
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Ulma Doctor

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Oh Mike, say it aint so!
You drank from the Kool-Aid, you stumbled into the dark side.
Congratulations!
I can see the value of owning one, I just don't know how to make anything.
We talked about reproducing a broken or missing part on a machine that is obsolete.
There are thousands of opportunities but how????
This old dog don't like Kool-Aid.
the kool aid was a bit easy to swallow, sorry to say
it so dang easy, i'm kicking myself for being scared.
there is a learning curve, but you could do it with some dedication. ;)
 

Ulma Doctor

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I've been watching them for years now as I'm curious about everything. But I wasn't sure I had an application to what Id do with one. So I appreciate you posting your adventures with this. IMHO you still might be early to this as things have been ironed out and more user friendly than the past. As you so aptly point out Doc it is a rabbit hole because it isn't just the machine, but it's also the software that piles up the "daunt" for a guy who doesn't use CAD or CNC.

I had to laugh at myself when I saw the pic of your first print of the owl and was shocked with the next one with your thumb. My brain said "that's the worlds largest thumb!" as I was sure that owl was at least 3-4" tall.
@C-Bag , don't be sacred
there is so much 3d stuff that someone else has done the real work on.
you are basically moving files from one program to another
the important program is the slicer, it generates the g-code.
the slicer program comes with the printer !!!! :grin:
there are some basic 3d objects that are also included on the little memory card(SD Card)
you can simply load the cat object file, for example.
the cat would appear in the slicer engine where you can set the size as well as control printing options
or you can print the scale and size as the original is suggested.
there is a site called tinkercad, it is literally the simplest cad program i have used- DON'T BE SCARED
you can take tanything you create from tinkercad and send it to the slicer, the slicer can make size and dimensional changes and create the gcode.
you send the gcode to the SD card and insert the SD card into the 3d printer
after a warm-up sequence, the printer goes to work
you can watch it or go do other things, periodically checking in on progress.
sometimes detailed prints can hours, if not days, for very large objects

come my friend, join me down here in the rabbit hole :grin big:
 

Ulma Doctor

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Very timely thread as I've been of the same mindset as several others in this thread i.e. I'll get one once the technology matures a bit. I've been eyeing the Ender or Ender Pro myself. I like the CR10S for the extra size but it looks like it's half the speed of the Ender but again I know nothing about 3D printers...yet.
i was told not to spend the extra money on the ender 3 pro, so i didn't.
it has done almost everything i have asked, until i started to modify the speed too greatly- it is unforgiving in that sense
it likes to run at about 50mm/second but can go slightly higher
the price is almost cheap and it doesn't take long to make some pretty cool stuff.
i'll post pictures of stuff soon
 

CluelessNewB

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I recently purchased a Creality CR-10S. (Like I don't already have too many hobbies...) I printed a couple of canned objects to get started. I then started playing around with Tinkercad and have actually created a few useful objects (and a few failures). I downloaded a new version of Cura (4.2.1, there is already a newer one). One useful object I created was an attachment that screws on the end of a boat hook that holds the working end of a cheapo ebay borescope. I created this to inspect the prop on my sailboat without having to go over the side in the cold Maine water. It works great. I could have made this in metal but I didn't have a tap for the weird broomstick thread. I found pre-designed socket for that thread on Thingiverse and combined that with a custom part to hold the borescope end using Tinkercad.

I have also created some stamps for pottery work. You can take a 2D jpg or png file and bring it directly into Cura. You can add height to it and add a base to make a stamp. This would also be useful for making tags or name plates. I'm planning to make one to replace a missing tag on my Atlas Mill stand.

So far I have only used PLA but I would like to try some more weather and sunlight resistant materials which will probably require modifications and an enclosure for the machine.
 

C-Bag

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@C-Bag , don't be sacred
there is so much 3d stuff that someone else has done the real work on.
you are basically moving files from one program to another
the important program is the slicer, it generates the g-code.
the slicer program comes with the printer !!!! :grin:
there are some basic 3d objects that are also included on the little memory card(SD Card)
you can simply load the cat object file, for example.
the cat would appear in the slicer engine where you can set the size as well as control printing options
or you can print the scale and size as the original is suggested.
there is a site called tinkercad, it is literally the simplest cad program i have used- DON'T BE SCARED
you can take tanything you create from tinkercad and send it to the slicer, the slicer can make size and dimensional changes and create the gcode.
you send the gcode to the SD card and insert the SD card into the 3d printer
after a warm-up sequence, the printer goes to work
you can watch it or go do other things, periodically checking in on progress.
sometimes detailed prints can hours, if not days, for very large objects

come my friend, join me down here in the rabbit hole :grin big:
Come on in the rabbit hole is fine LOL!
 

stioc

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I saw a video from CHEP (didn't know who he was, but seems well respected?) comparing the CR-10 mini with the Ender and Ender pro. Basically he likes the CR-10 better. However, a while ago when I compared the specs the Enders seemed almost twice as fast (at least how fast the steppers can go and the pro had a 24v power supply making it heat the bed up quicker). Anyway, so at this time I'm leaning towards the CR-10 based on CHEP's video. However, I'm holding tight on the purchase until I finish up a couple of other projects I started. I know if I bought one those other projects will get thrown on the back burner. May be the CR-10 will be a xmas present to myself.
 

Ulma Doctor

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I have watched a bunch of CHEP’s videos.
He has a lot of info. I’d recommend his videos to anyone who has interest in 3d printers
 

C-Bag

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This points out a fundamental doubt about 3D printers is everybody has their viewpoint and machine. I ran headlong into this wall when I decided I truly needed a lathe and mill. For every single person who liked and used a particular machine there were lots of detractors and not being versed in any of it finally just had the raw economics make the decision. The best deal I could find on CL for the size I envisioned work I thought I'd be doing.

I'll repeat I'm looking fwd to seeing what you use this for Doc and how it applies to what I do. I'm also in the same boat I see everybody else in, too many standing projects and having to triage immediate need vs amount of time it takes learn to use vs amount of $$$. Sorry to sound so skeptical of your new love but one of the reasons I was forced to get a lathe and mill was what I wanted and needed I couldn't buy off the shelf and it just seems to compound. It would be interesting to see like CluelessNewB did where you could come up with something where there was existing bits and pieces you could mash together to make what I want. I'm also leery of plastic like PLA as I'd want something more structural. So I'll be paying close attention to where your wabbit hole leads you to.
 

Ulma Doctor

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This points out a fundamental doubt about 3D printers is everybody has their viewpoint and machine. I ran headlong into this wall when I decided I truly needed a lathe and mill. For every single person who liked and used a particular machine there were lots of detractors and not being versed in any of it finally just had the raw economics make the decision. The best deal I could find on CL for the size I envisioned work I thought I'd be doing.

I'll repeat I'm looking fwd to seeing what you use this for Doc and how it applies to what I do. I'm also in the same boat I see everybody else in, too many standing projects and having to triage immediate need vs amount of time it takes learn to use vs amount of $$$. Sorry to sound so skeptical of your new love but one of the reasons I was forced to get a lathe and mill was what I wanted and needed I couldn't buy off the shelf and it just seems to compound. It would be interesting to see like CluelessNewB did where you could come up with something where there was existing bits and pieces you could mash together to make what I want. I'm also leery of plastic like PLA as I'd want something more structural. So I'll be paying close attention to where your wabbit hole leads you to.
Fair enough, all are valid reasons to sit on the fence, for now...:devilish:
we'll be waiting :grin:
 

Ulma Doctor

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here is a couple pictures of my most intensive print yet.
a 3d printed ratchet!!!!!
this design was made and printed on the international space station
it is rated for 3 inch pounds and only appears to tighten fasteners
the ratchet was printed in one continuous session.
all the moving parts were printed inside non moving parts!!!
it has a 3/8" square drive and is just about 5" long

IMG_3701.jpg


IMG_3702.jpg


i think this printer is amazing!
 

AlanB

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Cute ratchet!

I bought a 3D printer a couple years ago to make one part type I needed (in modest quantity) - a variety of spacers with two different radii and internal curved cable tie slots. Seems like I make a couple designs a week for something or other now. It has far exceeded my expectations for return on investment. It is really handy for prototyping too. I use the free OpenSCAD software to design stuff with, many prefer Fusion360 or other CAD programs. It is also a gentle way to break into CNC though you really don't get into much gcode with the state of the 3D printers and slicing software.

Here's a design I did a few days ago for my ebike. It holds a pair of displays and uses two cable ties to attach to the handlebars in the middle. This is the print orientation, in use it is flipped over. The cable tie slots are curved inside the plastic. Would be a challenge to mill these slots. :)

It is a great way to make temporary parts when doing a CNC conversion, both for prototyping and for bootstrapping. Plastic works fine for a lot of things, at least temporarily if not permanently. Like motor mounts. Good enough for permanent use for many other things like tool organizers, mounting brackets, covers, chip shields, electrical enclosures, handles and various holders that are under low stress.

I print mostly PLA and occasionally PETG when I need something higher temperature. I don't print ABS as it is too problematic with toxic fumes and shrinkage problems.

Which machine doesn't matter too much, choose something that fits your budget and meets your feature set and make sure it has good support from somewhere. If you care about open source some companies follow it and some just don't, so do some research there to guide your choice.

I've been planning to get and CNC a mill for years, however my 3D printers are used much more than the CNC mill will be. :)


doubleCA.JPG
 

vtcnc

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Congrats UD! Yes I agree with everything you say here. There is nothing to be afraid of with these. As far as the machine goes, the most remarkable technology about this is the slicer software. Everything else I am confident that the average hobby machinist can at least familiarize himself with.

I heard through the grapevine that the power connectors on the Ender 3 are shoddy. That is one reason I went with the Pro. Also, they upgraded the power supply and rearranged some of the fan placements to solve some complaints they have. I think the only other change is the magnetic sheet which I finally tossed and use as a hobby cutting mat.
 

MikeWi

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I have an Ender 3 and I will agree that the Pro really isn't worth it for what you're getting. That said, it's meant to be a bargain basement entry into printing, so while it works great, and will teach you much, there's plenty of room for upgrades and customization to make it even better when you want to. You can end up spending just as much in the long run as some of the other printers out there, but you'll also be an expert, and know more than how to just turn it on, as well as getting to that point at your own pace. You're going to have a lot of fun with this that's for sure, and I guarantee that you'll be looking back at that 41 minute print time for that little owl and laugh later. :)

As far as pro/cons among brands, each type is more or less the same thing, just with a different list of features that come stock. so there isn't really much mud to sling, just different preferences.
 

Winegrower

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I have used Shapeways (.com) for special shapes for higher temperature science experiments, like 700 degrees F. They print green ceramic, then glaze and fire the part. You send in a Solidworks model and they print it and do the rest. The last part I did was a tube with some somewhat complicated inner and outer structure, some radial holes, maybe 1.5” OD by 4” long. A couple weeks or less, $17 each. I felt that was very cost effective.
 

Ulma Doctor

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here are some more prints...

IMG_3720.jpg

(i poorly glued it together) it was printed in 3 parts

AXA toolholder hangers with mounting screw bores

IMG_3722.jpg
 

Ulma Doctor

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the single greatest improvement i could recommend to a newbie getting an Ender 3,
do the 3 point bed leveling conversion
there are 2 types i'm aware of, one you replace the base mount plate and you don't have to drill your heat plate

the other bed leveler print was developed and shared by member @Rex Walters
here is the page from where i got the download



thank you @Rex Walters !!!

the 3 point leveling changed the game completely

there is only one problem, you must drill your heat plate very close to the circuit printed on the backside of the plate
but if you are careful and remove the heat plate from the printer, a single 4mm countersunk hole is all that is necessary

i didn't take pictures of the process, but i did take pictures between prints of the installed 3 point retrofit

the red piece is the 3d printed part

IMG_3744.jpg


IMG_3745.jpg

no need to replace the carriage plate.

this was an easy upgrade that makes a huge of difference in print quality and ease of leveling
i'd highly recommend a 3 point level to anyone, however you go about it!
happy printing!
 

MikeWi

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With all respect to Ulma Doctor there's an even better way. Get rid of the springs entirely using solid shims, or just tighten them down all the way. Then get a probe and do mesh leveling. You'll only have to level when you change the bed surface.
 

Ulma Doctor

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With all respect to Ulma Doctor there's an even better way. Get rid of the springs entirely using solid shims, or just tighten them down all the way. Then get a probe and do mesh leveling. You'll only have to level when you change the bed surface.
thank you very much for the information! :grin:
 

Aaron_W

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Mike you are having so much fun.


This points out a fundamental doubt about 3D printers is everybody has their viewpoint and machine. I ran headlong into this wall when I decided I truly needed a lathe and mill. For every single person who liked and used a particular machine there were lots of detractors and not being versed in any of it finally just had the raw economics make the decision. The best deal I could find on CL for the size I envisioned work I thought I'd be doing.

You are absolutely right about this. I've been interested in 3D printing from before I had an interest in machining. In fact I was debating a 3D printer vs the Sherline lathe I eventually bought (3D printers cost a lot more and could do a lot less back then) so I've been following them for at least 10 years.

I joined a FB 3D printer group, and when people ask about which printer to buy you can almost substitute lathe / mill and the brand names and they would be about the same, well except for the old USA iron bit, being much younger technology that is rapidly advancing there isn't much if any push to go with old machines.

There are lots of machines out there but the two that come to the top as far as recommendations are the Ender 3 (cheap, but works) and Prusa 3 (not so cheap, but comes with all the cool mods so you don't need to add them yourself). I get the impression the Ender 3 is the 7x14 mini-lathe of the 3D printers (except for size, the Ender is comparable to many others in that regard).

With the Ender 3 available for less than $200 it does seem to be a pretty painless choice. Don't feel bad though, because like I said above I've been interested for a long time and still suffering from massive analysis paralysis. Ender or Prusa, PLA or resin oh my. :)

BTW I had made a decision and was all set to get the Prusa i3 for my birthday (November) when you posted that damn CL ad, and my birthday present turned into 800lbs of cast iron milling machine instead. It is ok though, they will make more 3D printers, so maybe I'll get an Ender 3 for Christmas. Plus 3D printers are evolving so quickly that delays result in getting a machine that is cheaper, better or both. I'm also really digging the old mill.
 
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